Launched from Red Wing, the National Newspaper Association has been the voice and vehicle of grassroots American journalism for 100 years.Erected by Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, Sept. 17, 1985
NNA was founded as the National Editorial Assn. but was renamed in 1965. Today it embraces approximately 5,000 community weeklies and 700 dailies going into 45 million U. S. homes. NNA nurtures press freedom, upholds journalistic standards, and defends First Amendment rights.
Benjamin Briggs Herbert, then editing the Red Wing Advance and the Republican, conceived the idea of a national newspaper fraternity while leading Minnesota editors on a river excursion in July 1882.
Born May 3, 1843 near Cuba, Illinois, Herbert had moved to a farm near Red Wing in 1856. In 1865 he graduated in classics from Hamline University, then two blocks south of this marker.
Herbert first practiced law, but in 1873 state farmers invited him to edit the new Grange Advance, the "sworn enemy of Monopolies and Humbug" — especially railroads. Herbert later merged the Advance into the Republican, housed since 1907 in the adjacent two-story brick building.
Herbert initiated NEA's founding convention in New Orleans in February 1885 and became its first president. In 1887 he accepted NEA's call to issue its own publication. Until 1917 he edited the National Printer - Journalist from Chicago, preaching "the grandeur, dignity and utility of our calling".
On July 8, 1917 NEA editors gathered in Sheldon Auditorium, adjoining this park, to honor their revered "Father Herbert". Next day Herbert suffered a fatal heart attack. In tribute, a young Colorado editor recalled Herbert's response to his query on how to succeed: "The most important single thing you can do to make your paper successful is to help your community".